On Painting

Alberti's treatise on painting (Della Pittura)


Leon Battista Alberti, translated from the Italian by John R Spencer


Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1956
On PaintingOn PaintingOn Painting

Printing Details

First edition thus. Hardback in dustwrapper. 22 × 14.5cm, 141pp.

Alberti's Della Pittura is the first modern theory of painting, and this edition is the first English translation since Leoni's edition of 1755, and the only translation based on a complete collation of all the known manuscripts. On Painting is generally known as the first systematic description of the one-point perspective construction. However, this is only one part of the treatise, for it is the result of a humanist education meeting with an exciting but sometimes confusing upsurge in the arts. The treatise is a piece of propaganda; as an apology and a manifesto of the new art it is designed to convince patron and painter to discard the old tastes in painting for the new. Alberti rejects the 'recipe books' of the Middle Ages to discuss painting in more general terms. He ins not concerned with the grinding and mixing of pigments but with topics that affect both painter and observer, such as modelling, pose, disposition of figures and the subject matter of composition.


This copy is in good plus condition. The book is in good solid shape and is clean, the dustwrapper a little tanned and with light edgewear but complete.



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On PaintingOn PaintingOn Painting

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